House and Woods made their way through the halls of St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries after Master Healer Hermione Weasley.
“Does she normally leave injured people in her wake?” House asked as they rounded a corner to find a healer sprawled on the floor, files lay scattered around him. “Quite a racket you have going on here.”
“Not as many as one might expect.” Woods made an abrupt left turn and pushed open a set of wooden double doors.
The patient was in his bed. His back was arched in pain so severely it seemed as if only his heels and head were touching the bed.
Healer Weasley watched with a look of horror on her face.
An aged old witch with a stuffed vulture perched precariously on the brim of her hat clutched Healer Weasley’s arm with bony, claw-like fingers.
House pushed his way through the Healers that were working on calming down the patient with every pain killing spell they knew. He was accidentally hit with a spell as he reached for the patient’s head and a wave of relief rushed through him.
“Thank you.” House said cheerfully to the startled young witch that had accidentally cast a spell on him. He dropped his cane and pulled a black stoppered bottle out of his pocket.
“Where did you get that?” Weasley demanded.
“The Potions Repository last night. Thought it might come in handy.” House poured the potion into the patient’s mouth, open and contorted in pain. The thick light blue liquid poured over his tongue and House forced the patient’s mouth shut.
In a few moments House began to notice the thrashing was slowing down. He watched as the young man’s face relaxed as he settled peacefully on the bed.
House cautiously let go of the patient’s head and took a step back.
“What did you just do?” The old witch looked up at House and scowled.
“Stopped his pain.” House said, putting the stopper back in the bottle with a flourish. “Temporarily, at least.”
The witch hobbled up to the patient and looked down at him.
The patient was still a young man. Dark hair swept over his sweaty brow. His round face was peaceful. There were red lines where his face had been contorted in pain.
“He needs a proper bath.” The old witch declared. She rounded on House. “Do you think you can manage that, or shall I fetch a basin of water?”
“He’ll be bathed immediately.” Weasley jumped in before House could say anything. She looked at a young healer that had pulled the blanket back to see the damaged foot. “Prepare a cleansing cart for the patient, please.”
The young witch looked as if she would be rather be examining the patient’s foot, but nodded and left the room.
Hermione touched the foot with her wand, examining it. House moved closer so he might get a better look.
The toe was gone. The area where the toe used to be was glowing slightly greenish.
“He’s been forcibly splinched.” House muttered as he looked at the foot. “Someone’s collecting little pieces of him.”
Hermione suddenly turned around. “Mrs. Longbottom, I know you want to be involved with everything we do-
“Say no more girl. He’s in no pain now. I’m getting a cup of tea from the lobby. By the time I get back you may be closer to stopping this thing.” Mrs. Longbottom looked pointedly at House. “Put an anti-apparition field around him.”
House nodded awkwardly at her, avoiding her gaze. “I’ll see that it gets done.” For the first time he felt embarrassed for not having a wand. The woman made him nervous. As if she could look right into him.
House shivered. Some of the old witches could and would do just that if they felt like it. He never was very good at Occlumency. One of his old teachers remarked it was like House wasn’t even trying to cover his thoughts; it was as if he shouted them out for the world to hear.
“I’ll do it myself. We’ll do the whole hospital. We’ll do our best for him.” Weasley reassured Mrs. Longbottom.
House thought it sounded like she was babbling, but the old witch nodded, the vulture on the brim of her hat bobbing. “That you do. Just don’t stop.”
“Not in a million years.” Weasley quirked a crooked smile at the old woman.
After the witch had tottered from the room House let out the breath he was holding. “That woman makes me nervous.”
“If she didn’t I’d wonder if something was wrong with you.” Hermione snorted as she turned her attention back to the patient’s foot. “Half the Wizarding World fears Neville’s gran.”
“The glowing is peculiar.” House remarked as he gave the patient’s foot a poke with his cane. “I think it’s the Avada Kedavra.”
“But how?” Weasley didn’t sound surprised at all.
“You already thought of this?” House hazarded.
“When the toe started withering I noticed blood had stopped going to it. It was like the foot was rewiring itself to not include the toe. Blood vessels were cauterizing themselves and refusing together.” Hermione made a strange little poking motion with her wand and the blood vessels in Neville’s foot glowed golden, the rest of his foot began to fade until it was transparent. “See. Now it’s moved to a new part of his foot. I had to see what happened to make sure.”
House looked at Weasley. She looked tired and frustrated. “I’ve had to work on a coworker before. I can’t imagine it would be easy to work on a friend.”
“Nothing in life is easy, Dr. House.” She used her wand to tilt the foot slightly. “Especially in this field.”
“I want a full examination for him.” House moved the patient’s blanket off him. “Strip him. Poke him. X-ray him. Take his blood. Can we get an MRI?”
“What do you think?” Hermione looked curious.
“I think if he has body parts vanishing we should make sure all his organs are intact.”
“Blatant disregard for procedure!” Woods spluttered behind Weasley as they stormed through a Muggle hospital, Weasley liberally casting memory charms on Muggle doctors and patients that happened upon them.
The patient floated behind them as if he were on an invisible gurney.
House was trailing behind everyone and chuckling. He pulled a pill out of his jacket pocket and dry swallowed it. It strained his leg to keep up this kind of pace and it was starting to throb.
Maybe he could convince that blonde healer to hit him with another pain killing spell.
“Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do!” Weasley growled. “These are extenuating circumstances!”
“You could have at least let the Aurors secure the area first!” Woods persisted. “This is madness!”
“I contacted the Ministry.” Hermione said hotly as she slung a spell at a janitor as he wheeled his mop bucket around a corner.
“When did you contact them?” Woods asked suspiciously.
“Right before we went to get Mr. Longbottom.” Hermione said quickly. “I used one of our fastest owls. If they have a problem they’ll bloody well come here to get me.”
She came to an abrupt halt as they rounded a corner and she found herself face to face with half a dozen Aurors.
The tallest was a familiar looking man with unruly brown hair and glasses. He was shaking his head at Weasley and his arms were crossed over his chest. He was tut-tutting.
“Really, Hermione. You couldn’t wait 10 minutes for us to secure the area? What a little outlaw you’ve turned out to be.”
It all clicked. The boy-who-lived was James Potter’s son.
Good thing James was dead or else House would have to listen to that pompous blowhard regale the tales of his entirely-too-lucky-for-his-own-good son as much as possible.
It was hard enough to deal with him when all he had to brag about was Quidditch and being accepted into the Auror program.
“Knew you’d get here sooner or later, Harry. Better late than never, I suppose.” Weasley smirked.
“Ginny’s at the office and I had to Floo the children to your house, so you shut it. It was my night off. Ron was thrilled, I’ll tell you.” Potter snapped.
“Is the area secure?” Weasley asked sheepishly.
“It is now.” Potter frowned at her. “There was someone using it. We can’t just shove Muggles aside so we can use their equipment.”
“I know that.” Weasley’s face burned hotly. “I just wanted to be fast and this is a time when there wouldn’t be many people in this area.”
“Just let us do our jobs, Hermione.” Potter sighed. “It makes things easier on everyone.”
“Fine. You’ll be the first to know next time I decide to take over a Muggle building.” Weasley said testily.
Potter looked past Weasley and his eyes fell on House. He looked a little surprised.
“Oh, Harry! This is our assisting physician, Dr. Gregory House.” Weasley turned to gesture at House. House stepped around the patient’s floating body to shake Potter’s hand. “This is Harry Potter.”
“Thank you for helping out on this.” Potter shook House’s hand and gestured at the floating body. “Neville means quite a lot to the Wizarding World.”
“So do you, from what I hear.” House commented.
“You should never believe rumors.” Potter cautioned, his green eyes twinkling. Thank God the kid had inherited his mother’s personality.
“I never believe fact half the time, who has time for rumors?” House said with a quirk of his head and a tight smile.
“Harry, we really need to move.” Weasley tapped her foot impatiently.
“Well, let’s do this then.” Harry said. “I hope it’s worth the trouble.”
“No matter what we find out, it’s worth it.” Weasley said reassuringly. “Even if it appears to be nothing.”